How to Capitalize on the Latest Trends in Cloud Analytics

Devon Tackels

Content Marketing Manager, Sigma

Companies of all sizes are on a quest to become more data-driven. And for good reason. Forrester reports that, on average, data-driven companies grow more than 30% annually. Using cloud analytics strategically empowers companies to pull ahead of less-savvy competitors, gaining market share.

But many are struggling to make their data-driven vision a reality. According to Gartner, 87% of companies acknowledge having low BI and analytics maturity. One of the biggest reasons is that they aren’t fully taking advantage of modern cloud data warehouses and analytics capabilities. In this post, we’re sharing ways you can tap into this potential and capitalize on new trends in cloud analytics.


The amount of companies who acknowledge having low A&BI maturity

The new generation of data warehouses and analytics tools

Before we dive into the trends, let’s start by surveying the capabilities of the modern data warehouse and cloud-native analytics.

The latest developments in data technology haven’t resulted in mere incremental improvements. They’ve completely transformed what’s possible when it comes to accessing, processing, and analyzing data. In the past, technical teams had to clean, structure, and summarize data before it was usable. And only those with SQL skills could query the data. When a domain expert was up against an important decision and had questions that needed answering, she had to send a request to her data team — a data team that was swamped with requests from other domain experts. She had to wait days for the reports that would provide the insights she needed to make an informed decision. Many times, the reports came too late, and opportunities were missed — or worse, problems had developed into major obstacles.

Today, new technologies and methodologies allow teams of technical and non-technical users to quickly work with data on an ad hoc basis. Managed cloud data warehouses function seamlessly with tools designed to access and process data in an agile, scalable manner. And the latest cloud-based analytics tools let teams take advantage of these capabilities. Now, the domain expert can use a spreadsheet-like tool such as Sigma to connect with multiple data sources of varying types, query the data by using familiar Excel formulas, and create auto-generated visualizations based on her queries. And she can do this at any time.

Trends you can tap with modern cloud analytics tools

Exactly how do these capabilities play out? Let’s look at the trends you can take advantage of to accelerate your journey toward becoming a more data-driven company.

Better, easier compliance

Data privacy regulations have been increasing and growing in complexity. GDPR is leading the way, with many countries generating their own versions of these laws. While the U.S. currently doesn’t have an equivalent, California has stepped up independently and passed privacy laws. It’s only a matter of time before these laws become commonplace throughout the U.S. and all developed countries. Managed cloud providers can help you easily comply with these regulations, by reducing access points, deploying robust security tools, and making governance processes simpler. Look for providers with security certifications, including and SOC 2, CSA, ISO27001, HIPAA, and PCI.

Bring the power of data literacy to the people

Data is the common language that allows everyone in an organization to align, collaborate, and work toward organizational objectives. Increased data literacy results in increased effectiveness. Ben Yoskovitz, founding partner at Highline Beta explains, “Data not only helps us figure out what to do, but it helps us understand why we’re doing it.” When business users are trained in data analytics principles and best practices, an organization can move more efficiently.


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CDW + Cloud analytics = greater speed to insights

Beyond data literacy, when non-technical users can run their own queries using spreadsheet-like tools, they reduce time to insights. This simply wasn’t possible with yesterday’s more-limited cloud warehouses and analytics tools that were usable only by technical team members with SQL skills. Now, domain experts can access insights in real-time, allowing them to take advantage of opportunities quickly.

Put semi-structured and unstructured data to use

Before, teams were limited by the requirement that data be structured before it could be used. Now you can bring semi-structured and even unstructured data into the data warehouse. With tools like Snowflake’s variant data type, there’s no need to parse out and ETL the data into traditional tables and columns. Data flowing into organizations through apps, websites, mobile devices, and IoT devices, represents a valuable quarry that companies can mine using the right tools.


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Beat BI adoption odds

Self-service analytics has essentially been a myth. BI adoption has hovered around 35%, primarily due to domain experts having to rely heavily on technical teams to fully use the tools. Now, self-service has become a reality. Thanks to pipeline tools like Fivetran, cloud data warehouses like Snowflake, and intuitive, cloud-native analytics tools like Sigma, business users without any SQL knowledge can explore data independently. When tools are easy to use without technical skills, adoption skyrockets.

Meld AI and humans for a whole greater than the sum of its parts

AI can identify trends and predict future events faster than any team of human analysts. For this reason, AI is invaluable. But there are significant risks involved in AI, which can create devastation if left without human involvement. If something goes wrong and a human isn’t able to identify the issue and step in, companies can lose billions of dollars and suffer irreparable reputation damage. For example, AI magnifies racial bias and gender discrimination. And AI systems can be fooled in ways humans can’t. Without human involvement, AI becomes a liability rather than an asset. Human curiosity and real-world experience are necessary to provide what AI alone just can’t offer. With modern cloud data tools melding AI and human brain power, companies get a whole that’s much greater than the sum of its parts.

Insights based on data will continue to grow in value as the world and its devices produce more data. Because of this, being data-driven will become a necessity for every company, not simply a nice-to-have. And organizations that accelerate their journey now will be in a strong position to compete in a data-centric future.

To learn more about what’s possible with modern cloud BI and analytics for data warehouses, see our Definitive Guide to Cloud BI & Analytics for Data Warehouses.

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